Sleep is arguably one of our body’s most important functions (aside from breathing). Despite sleep being so important, many neglect to get proper rest under a false understanding of our body’s abilities. We’ve outlined common myths about sleep and why they are mistaken.
1. Your body gets used to getting less sleep.
There are set sleep guidelines for every age group that vary across the lifespan. While you may feel fine getting less sleep over a long period, that doesn't mean your body isn’t suffering the consequences. Sleep deprivation can impact cognitive processes (e.g., concentration, decision-making, memory), which don’t disappear without a proper sleep schedule. Health problems from sleep deprivation can accumulate if sleep loss occurs for too long, and the resulting health consequences can be severe (e.g., diabetes, heart problems, mental health disorders).
2. If you sleep enough hours, it doesn’t matter when you sleep.
Our bodies have a natural circadian rhythm that lets us know when to release sleep-inducing chemicals and when to release waking-up chemicals. Typically the circadian rhythm is linked with the pattern of the sun. Specifically, we feel tired when it’s dark and feel more awake when it’s light. Night Time workers can attest to the challenges associated with getting enough sleep during the day or trying to stay awake during the night because this process goes against our body’s natural tendency.
3. More Sleep is Better than just the right amount.
While not getting enough sleep can cause many issues, getting too much sleep can also cause problems. We want to be clear that those recovering from illness may sleep more, but that’s the body’s way of dealing with the illness. People who are chronic oversleepers may cause health problems, or the excessive need for sleep may be a sign of an underlying health concern.
4. Exercising at night will disrupt sleep.
There is a common misconception that exercising at night will cause your body to have too much energy and struggle to relax and sleep. Researchers have found that exercising before bed does not impact sleep and can help people fall asleep easier!
5. Adults only need 5 hours of sleep.
It is true that as we age, we need less and less sleep. As infants, we sleep for a majority of the day, and this steadily declines with age. However, there is never an age that requires only five hours of sleep. When we turn 18, we need approximately 7 hours minimum, and this minimum sleep requirement remains constant throughout our adult life.
Sleep allows our body to engage in restorative processes, store memories, and rest our bodies from a day of work. Though seemingly unimportant, sleep is vital to our health. We encourage you to enjoy the comfort of your bed and catch the necessary ZZ's to perform at your optimal level. Moreover, if you're struggling with comfort and falling asleep, try adding a mattress topper to your mattress as this small task can greatly improve your comfort!